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Iran Frees French Businesswoman Detained For Four Months

Spokesperson of Iran's foreign ministry, Bahram Ghasemi. File photo

Iranian authorities have released a French businesswoman detained for four months, according to local media.

"A French national who had been detained for unauthorized entry into Iran was released in the recent days after legal proceedings took their course and other charges were dropped," the official IRNA news agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as saying on February 24.

Ghasemi did not give the name or gender of the French citizen.

But France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on February 20 that Nelly Erin-Cambervelle was arrested on the Iranian island of Kish on October 21 for allegedly "signing an illegal mining contract and carrying out an unauthorized trip."

Le Drian said that the French authorities had been in touch with Iran with a view to improving the conditions of the 59-year-old businesswoman from the French Caribbean island of Martinique.

Details of Erin-Cambervelle's arrest first appeared in local Martinique media earlier this month after a friend and colleague was quoted as saying that she had been arrested for illegally buying gold after originally going to Kish to negotiate a minerals contract.

The friend, Patricia Gros-Desirs Dicanot, said that the Iranian authorities were demanding 40,000 euros ($45,392) for her release.

Relations between Paris and Tehran have been strained in recent months despite the two sides committing to uphold the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers -- which the United States exited in May last year.

Paris suspended nominating a new ambassador to Iran after accusing the Iranian Intelligence Ministry of being behind an alleged plot to bomb a rally by an exiled opposition group in June.

Tehran has rejected the accusation.

With reporting by IRNA and Reuters